Both Sides of the Aisle

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Dear Editor: I was pleased to see Dan Clark’s article “A Friendly Approach to Partisanship” in the Jan/Feb issue. I couldn’t agree more that Friends have a great opportunity to work with all elected officials, regardless of political party. Clark writes, “. . . the Friendly approach in these ongoing debates is to appeal to the best and highest in both our chosen officials and our fellow citizens, speaking to each other with mutual respect and without rancor.”  

In our work at the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), both the lobbyists on staff and the grassroots advocates across the country operate on this principle: that persistent, honest, and respectful relationship-building with members of Congress can – and does – change national policy to “the world we seek.” FCNL reaches out to thousands of grassroots advocates who build effective relationships with their members of Congress by visiting congressional offices, writing email or letters, or picking up the phone and making a call with an open mind and an open heart. How we lobby is as important as the content of our message – not just because our faith calls us to treat people equally, but because it’s effective.  All of our hopes for a better world require us to only talk to and work with people who don’t always agree with us.   

Imagine the possibilities if all Friends talked to their members of Congress by seeking connection with the Divine Light in each person first, no matter our preconceived ideas about their point of view on the concerns we carry.  

– Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, FCNL